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mike pompeo

Iran says US faces 'maximum isolation' as world powers dismiss sanctions

Security council members say Washington lost the legal ability to invoke the measure after the US withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal.

LAST UPDATE | Sep 20th 2020, 3:20 PM

IRAN HAS SAID the United States is facing “maximum isolation” after major powers dismissed a unilateral US declaration that UN sanctions on Tehran were back in force.

The Trump administration said the sanctions had been re-activated under the “snapback” mechanism in a landmark 2015 nuclear treaty – despite Washington having withdrawn from the deal.

As other signatories cast doubt on the move having any legal effect, Washington threatened to “impose consequences” on states failing to comply.

But Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said a concerted campaign by Washington to pressure Tehran had backfired.

“We can say that America’s ‘maximum pressure’ against Iran, in its political and legal aspect, has turned into America’s maximum isolation,” he said in a televised cabinet meeting.

He also praised the UN Security Council’s approach to the issue as “very valuable” as it ignored “America’s request (and) held no session to consider their request.”

The Security Council was what “the Americans always thought of as their point of strength,” he said..

Donald Trump’s administration said on Saturday night its triggering of the so-called “snap back” mechanism in the UN Security Council resolution that enshrined the 2015 Iran nuclear deal had taken effect.

It comes 30 days after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo notified the council Iran was in “significant non-performance” of its obligations under the deal.

The mechanism would mean that international sanctions eased or lifted under the nuclear deal are reimposed and must be enforced by UN member states.

However, other members of the council say Washington lost the legal ability to invoke it after the US withdrew from the nuclear deal and reimposed American sanctions on Iran.

In a statement, Pompeo said “the world will be safer as a result” of the US decision.

In response, Iranian Foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh earlier said: “Tehran’s message to Washington is clear: return to the international community, return to your commitments and stop bullying so the international community will accept you.”

The White House plans to issue an executive order on Monday spelling out how it will will enforce the restored sanctions, with the State and Treasury departments expected to outline how foreign individuals and businesses will be penalised for violations.

Trump administration officials have been attacking the 2015 nuclear deal for years. They say it is fatally flawed because certain restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activity gradually expire and will allow the country to eventually develop atomic weapons.

Washington’s immediate concern has been the indefinite extension of the arms embargo that would otherwise expire on October 18. The Security Council rejected a US effort to extend the embargo in a lopsided vote which saw Washington get support from only one country, the Dominican Republic.

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